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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | April 6, 2020

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A note on Brisbane, beauty and chaotic ugliness

A note on Brisbane, beauty and chaotic ugliness

| On 31, Mar 2014

Alright, alright. I’ve heard the uproar and just like many of us, my eyebrows were slowly raised. From being voted as ‘one of the world’s hippest cities’ to now being singled out a brilliant example of ‘chaotic ugliness’, the city of Brisbane is on a roller coaster ride of sudden attention. However, whilst this latest musing may be critical, critical doesn’t always have to mean negative. It’s all about embracing the flaws – right?

Brisbane may not have the charming cobbled streets, drastically shaped by the precipice of history like our European river-city counterparts, yet this is the very reason that Brisbane’s appeal is beyond sheer aesthetic pleasure. It is it a little too cliché to describe it as … a feeling? I think not! All I know is that it is certainly beyond the boundaries of the motorway’s congestion and shadows of boxy corporate buildings. To me, Brisbane has something different, of alluring nature that I can only find here.

Those critical of Brisbane’s beauty are just a jealous footnote within the greater, sprawling nature of the city. We’ve seen floods; we’ve braved undercurrents of skepticism and learnt not to drink the river water. You see, whether one journeys along the river to appreciate Brisbane’s bridges or enjoys the patchwork of authentic inner-city suburbs, Brisvegas has it. It has always had it. Our city is bohemian, hip, exclusive and endearing all at once.

Brisbane from above. Sourced from:

Brisbane from above | Sourced from:

Perhaps the greatest limitation of Brisbane’s ‘ugly’ critique is that it overlooks all that is appreciated about modern Brisbane by locals and visitors alike. Yeah, we have ridiculous one-way city streets and perhaps the construction projects don’t fit within the realm of a fetching framework but please – we have a comforting climate, urban spaces filled with parks and an array of events and galleries. With an active social calendar, Brisbane opens arms for all those who pass through to live a culturally enriched life without sauntering further than the next suburb.

One might say, that if Brisbane really is the epitome of ‘chaotic ugliness’ – then Brisbane was chaotically ugly before it was cool. It’s dizzying and daunting but once you fall for Brisbane like all of us creative folk, it’s an identity that cannot be reclaimed.

So, Brisbane, you beauty – I speak for all of us when I feel the need to apologize and put you back on that pedestal of hip and charming ‘cool cred’ that you so deserve. We still love you, and you are certainly not bringing us down.